Friday, August 10, 2007

Draft, Anyone?

I posted the link earlier this evening (see post, below) within seconds of NPR posting the Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute interview online (which I heard on tonight's All Things Considered just before my earlier post today), and
  • Yahoo has picked up the lead, along with other news sources and venues.

  • No doubt the White House and Pentagon will be spinning in the other direction by tomorrow AM.

    Have a -- weekend.


    Friday Afternoon Wrap-Up

    I'll start with something 'light' and likely to simply not register in US news, though film lovers will want to know.
  • A fire which began and spread from the sets for the HBO series Rome has swept through a portion of the famed Cinecitta studio in Italy.

  • Thankfully, the fire reportedly did not destroy "the historic part" of the 70-year-old studio, where cinematic classics like Ben-Hur and many films by Federico Fellini, Vittorio De Sica, Visconti, Bava, Leone, DeLaurentiis and others were filmed. Cinecitta looms on the southern outskirts of Rome, one of the few legacies of infamous Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini (who built the studio in 1937) to win hearts and imaginations, as over a thousand films and television series have emerged from its expansive acreage.

  • President Bush's press conference yesterday was maddening, per usual, comprised almost entirely of lies, evasions, deceit and complete fantasy stated as 'fact.'

  • As always, his statements about the Iraq War are simply impossible to listen to with a straight face -- he is either a damned fool or he's lying through his teeth, I no longer care; either way, the ongoing disastrous impact is apparent to one and all.

  • But don't take my word for it, or that of any news source I can link to -- here's this afternoon's interview with Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute, assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Adviser for Iraq and Afghanistan -- you know, our 'war czar.' Read it.

  • I've long maintained the insane war policies of this President will inevitably lead to a military draft; Lt. General Lute tries to argue otherwise, noting however that "I think it makes sense to certainly consider it [a draft]," and I predict this President will institute a draft in 2008, likely between the November election and the January installing of the new President Elect into office -- thus, in Bush's mind, dodging 'the bullet' installing a draft fires, and leaving an even greater national disaster for the next President and Administration to deal with. It's clear Bush intends to simply extend his current policies into 2008 and do as little as possible, thus able to "stand firm" and (in his mind) defer blame for the cataclysmic consequences until it's no longer his problem to deal with.

    But Bush's press conference blather and the immediate reality clearly are at odds in terms that are cataclysmic enough for all to see.

  • Prominent among his denials of reality was the assertion that there's "enough liquidity in the market to weather the fallout from sub-prime mortgage defaults."
  • Maybe yes, maybe no --
  • -- the absolutely ruinous state of the US mortgage and credit banking and markets was impacting on global economies even as Bush boasted about the "health" of the US economy -- perhaps the most immediate case of reality putting lie to the President's nonsensical bullshit on record.

  • The pisser, of course, is this crisis was foreseeable and predicted --
  • -- and arguably nurtured by the current Administration, either through callous indifference (best case scenario) or in collusion with those benefiting in the short run from these kinds of malicious, destructive business practices.

  • The hideous consequences of Hurricane Katrina continue to be tracked, but the most devastating accounts evidence an astoundingly immoral scheme to deliberately impoverish working families, forcing mortgage defaults in order to (according to Greg Palast, quoted from this link) create a new New Orleans, to "drastically altered the demographics of a city that used to be two-thirds Black."

  • Palast and others have doggedly documented the apparently calculated decision to thus ravage a once-vital city -- a decision or series of decisions that 'plays' as "mere" incompetence, apathy or lack of political will... rather than a cynical, despicable act of political will.

    Given the Bush Administration's calculated and cumulative six-year record of favoring corporate malfeasance, corrupt business practices, revisions of bankruptcy laws to favor credit card companies and banks, and the Administration's own reckless spending (led by the horrific daily expense of the Iraq War in money, blood and diverted US resources), one rationally has to ask -- is this deliberate? Are we finally seeing the consequences of a concerted Administration policy?

  • If you've been blissfully unaware of what's going on, the US stock market has taken a major series of hits this week,
  • prompting international stock markets to plunge today as turmoil from the U.S. mortgage crisis sent shockwaves across the globe.

  • Sure, U.S. regulators are scrutinizing the books of Wall Street's largest investment banks suspected of hiding losses from subprime mortgages;
  • as the Securities and Exchange Commission determines whether these firms "are calculating the value of subprime-mortgage assets on their books the same way they calculate those values for their brokerage clients, such as hedge funds," and "whether there are unreported losses from subprime-mortgages and collateralized-debt obligations," its hard to fathom the ongoing blind eye given to sketchy and evidently deliberate bankrupting of New Orleans and Louisiana almost two years after Katrina's strike, and not see it as just the eye of an economic hurricane -- a metaphoric hurricane willed into being.

  • Today, the Federal Reserve flushed over $38 billion into the US financial system to deal with the escalating credit turmoil --
  • -- after the ECB had already poured 95 billion euros ($130.7 billion) to banks yesterday, as Japan's central bank injected 1 trillion yen ($8.4 billion) into money markets -- the first time the U.S., European and Japanese central banks (along with Australian, Hong Kong and Canadian central banks) had taken such action together since the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. This is fucking major, folks.

  • However, this only exposes our entire system to greater risk.

    Is the system indeed broken -- and was this a deliberate scheme at some level of the standing US government?

    It's hard to consider such a thing as even being possible, but again, the rational cause-and-effect of six years of policy seems intent upon ruining some significant percentage of the US population, with an eye on also hitting international fiscal 'targets' (typically, the poor nations and simply 'the poor').

  • It's hard to conceive of a calculated scheme of this magnitude being deliberately orchestrated -- especially given the news today of Chinese officials threatening to sell some portion of the almost $1 trillion in U.S. Treasury bills they currently harbor, thus precipitating major economic stress in the United States --
  • -- which is most likely China simply flexing their muscles, forcing acknowledgment and respect for the genuine power they now hold over our national economy.

    What more evidence does the US population need that this President, this Administration, the GOP and all complacent and complicit in their thrall, have sold us all down the river?

    Look, I have no idea what's "really" going on, any more than you do.

    But the monstrous chasm between Bush's loopy blather yesterday and hard reality today simply cannot be ignored.

    It's more obvious daily that President Bush's -- what? Incompetence, or malice? Blindness or hubris? It no longer matters -- policies and tenure are having disastrous worldwide consequences.

    Waiting a day, week, month longer to curb the rule of this pack of knaves will only have greater consequence.

    What to do?

    Have a weekend -- of some sort. And good luck.

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